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Jean-Baptiste Norman Henry Morrisseau (1931–2007), known primarily as Norval Morrisseau, was a Canadian Anishinaabe painter and printmaker who signed his work with his Ojibwa name “Copper Thunderbird.” A self-taught artist, he was born at Sand Point reserve near Beardmore, Ont. At the age of six, he was sent to a Roman Catholic residential school for two years, after which he attended a local community school. In 1957, he married Harriet Kakegamic (1935–1995) with whom he had several children. They lived in the Red Lake area and elsewhere in northwestern Ontario. In later years, the artist stayed in Nanaimo, B.C.
In a manner known as the Woodland Style he is known for initiating, Norval Morrisseau painted in thick black outlines and bright colours, basing his images on Anishinaabe cultural sources and Christian symbols. Several of his earliest solo exhibitions were held at the Pollock Gallery, with which he was associated until the gallery closed in 1981. In 1978, Norval Morrisseau was made a member of the Order of Canada. He was also a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the Professional National Indian Artists Incorporation (“Indian Group of Seven”). He retired from painting in 2002.
Norval Morrisseau died in Toronto in 2007. His works are in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ont.), the McMichael Canadian Collection and other public art museums in Canada.
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Created 1 February 2019.